As the Ramones lead singer, Joey Ramone became one of the most unlikely frontmen of all time. Before the advent of punk, lead singers were meant to be either fantastic singers or capable of drawing in one’s eye with their swashbuckling performances. Usually, both were a pre-requisite for success. However, when the four brats from New York City began making waves in the underbelly of the burgeoning punk rock scene, that all changed, and Joey emerged as the pivotal voice in the genre.
The basis of punk’s surge to the top was in the burning of all that went before it. No matter the genre, no matter the esteem, punk bands were meant to hate all those artists of “rock” that had done so much to take the danger out of music. While, generally, they all stuck to the script, Johnny Rotten being a particular dab-hand at such derision, as time passed, the punks of old eventually gave up the ghost and revealed the bands they loved before punk. For Joey Ramone, one such session came with EW back in 1990 where he revealed his favourite albums of all time.
The question has probably been posted to almost every music fan on the planet: if you were stuck on a desert island, what record would you bring with you? In fact, it’s a question that BBC Radio 4 have been asking for over 70 years as part of their Desert Island Discs feature. Back in 1990, the question was set out for the enigmatic frontman Joey Ramone.
If you’re familiar with the Ramones, and we imagine you are, then you’ll know that they aren’t ones for messing around with foreplay. They get straight down to it and, as ever, are normally finished in under three minutes. It may well be something that Ramone took into his personal life too as he answers the question, one which many of us could speak about for hours and hours, in a matter of seconds.
The first real surprise on his list was picking the antithesis of punk rock, The Beatles. Not selecting a studio album he instead picks: “The soundtrack from Help!,” also confirming for the interviewer that he “probably wouldn’t pick any of our albums because we’re always playing and if I was on an island, I’d rather hear something else.”
Ramone then rattles off a pretty comprehensive list of great bands. “The first Who album,” he says picking out My Generation. He then chooses “[The Rolling Stones’ LP] December’s Children,” as well as two of his favourite bands, “The Maximum Overdrive album by AC/DC,” officially titled Who Made Who and composed for the Stephen King film Maximum Overdrive, and “Motorhead’s No Remorse.” Ramone also points to one of the band’s main competitors in the race for the defining punk band: “And I’d take the Sex Pistols’ first album.”
Though it is short and sweet, Ramone picks out six records which you would be hard-pressed to beat for a proper island party. Of course, after The Beatles and the comparative gentle sounds, there are five heavy records capable of turning the desert island on its head. We’ve pulled together Joey Ramone’s favourite albums as a playlist below so you can imagine you’re out there with him, being baked by the sun, the ocean lapping at your feet and Joey Ramone quietly snoozing “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” between breaths.
Joey Ramone’s favourite albums:
- Help! – The Beatles
- My Generation – The Who
- December’s Children – The Rolling Stones
- Who Made Who – AC/DC
- No Remorse – Motorhead
- *Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols” – Sex Pistols